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Taiwan’s TSMC reportedly spending US$28.6 million on water

Chipmaker scrambling to ensure water supplies amid one of worst droughts in country's history

Baoshan Reservoir in Hsinchu 

Baoshan Reservoir in Hsinchu  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is reportedly doubling down on its expenditure for water supplies as the country’s tech companies feel the heat amid a severe drought.

The world’s largest semiconductor foundry has put aside NT$800 million (US$28.6 million) in funds for water orders and tanker truck arrangements, a 60 percent increase from the previously reported NT$500 million, wrote UDN.

The cost would account for around 2 percent of TSMC’s quarterly operational cost, which stands at between NT$32.3 billion and 3.4 billion, according to a company financial report. Many Taiwanese semiconductor firms have long-established contractual relationships with water truck companies to ensure supplies in times like this, industry researchers said.

TSMC plants take up 3 to 10 percent of the water used at the country's three major science parks. Chip manufacturing requires a significant amount of water, and the shortage due to the lack of typhoons last year and scarce rainfall — and made more acute by the global chip shortage — has caused concern.

Hsinchu, home to one of the science parks, could see water supplies reduced to five days a week starting in June if the dry weather persists. Meteorologist Daniel Wu (吳德榮) forecast Sunday (May 2) that two fronts are likely to bring precipitation beginning May 25.